EAST HARLEM — Local police officers are launching a preemptive strike on Halloween mischief.
Capt. Thomas Harnish of Harlem's 25th Precinct has asked local retailers, including grocery stores and art supply stores, to restrict the sale of large quantities of eggs, spray paint and other items that could be used to cause mayhem on Halloween night.
“They’re going to use discretion,” Harnish said. "We don't want to go after a kid buying groceries for his family."
But if it's a group of kid buying six-dozen eggs, he wants businesses to think twice before making the sale.
El Barrio residents are on board with the decision, saying that although vandalism has decreased in recent memory, they are still worried about getting hit with eggs on Oct. 31.
“Of course it’s a good idea,” Ester Osorio, 74, said while shopping at Costco. “The kids throw eggs at people on Halloween. They go to the top of the buildings and throw them out the window.”
Osorio, who spoke in Spanish, said she used to celebrate Halloween when her children lived with her but now she doesn’t leave her apartment and does not answer the door for anybody.
Teens used to prefer flour but lately have been using eggs to stir up Halloween havoc, Osorio said.
Likewise, when Harnish was growing up, kids used to fill socks with flour and hit each other with them, he said.
The captain said he does not condone such behavior.
When it comes to eggs, employees at Target have not noticed an increase in sales in the last couple of days, said store Team Leader Jenny Chimbo.
While the store does not restrict any purchases, they will keep an eye out for minors who pull up to the cash register with a shopping cart filled with eggs, she added.
For safe trick-or-treating, here are some safety tips from the NYPD:
► Adults should always examine Halloween treats before children eat them
► Children should never eat open or unwrapped foods
► Costumes should allow children to walk freely without tripping
► Make sure that any face paint or makeup used on the skin is non-toxic
► Children should carry a flashlight and wear reflective or bright colored clothing at night